Cleaning agents and how they impact indoor air quality
The endocrine system enables most of the vital bodily functions in humans by producing hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things. Consisting of the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries (in females) and testicles (in males), the endocrine system affects almost every organ and cell in the human body. A properly functioning endocrine system ensures that your body keeps releasing hormones essential to keep body functions fine-tuned and comfortable.
But this critical system is under attack.
Mostly from endocrine disruptors (EDCs). What are endocrine disruptors? Endocrine disruptors are some natural and mostly man-made chemicals that can either mimic or disrupt the action of hormones. Essentially, they are chemical hormone disruptors that hamper the endocrine system at certain doses, leading to negative developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. Endocrine disruptors are associated with learning disabilities, cognitive dysfunction, attention disorders, brain development problems, physical deformations, various types of cancers and sexual disorders, among others. They are also known to affect foetal growth.
As long back as 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Environment Project (UNEP) released a report linking exposure to endocrine disruptors with cancer, especially prostate cancer in men and thyroid cancer, along with a whole host of other severe to fatal ailments. And endocrine disruptors don’t just affect humans. They affect marine and aquatic life and birds and animals too. They also affect our food – vegetables, fruit, fish – and water.
While there are a large number of natural substances believed to be endocrine disruptors, the man-made sources far outnumber them. And increasingly so. We live in a world where chemicals have become increasingly prevalent. From packaging products to medicines to transportation to bottles to pretty much any object you can think of makes generous use of chemicals. Even the food we eat is contaminated by chemicals from fertilisers and pesticides and industrial waste and contaminated water.
One of the biggest sources of endocrine disruptors are the cleaning products you use at home. We have written previously about the chemicals hiding in your cleaning products and how disinfecting your homes is killing off the good bacteria too and also about how the chemicals from your cleaning agents end up tainting your food. Equally importantly, these chemicals also pollute the indoor air in your homes, ensuring that your body absorbs these chemicals in with every single breath you take in what should be the safe environs of your homes.
Some of the known endocrine disruptors in your household cleaners include Cyclosiloxanes, glycol ethers, phthalates, parabens, alkylphenols, ethanolamides, bisphenol A (BPA), and triclosan. Some substances containing endocrine disruptors, especially pesticides like DDT, have already been banned in several countries because enough has been researched and written about their harmful effects on human health. However, many products still use a whole lot of EDCs either in the product itself or in the packaging the product comes in, both causing harm to you and the environment.
One EDC that has become increasingly prevalent in a lot of cleaning products across the board are phthalates. If you use any chemical-based cleaning product that has a fragrance, then it most likely has phthalates in it, actually making the indoor air quality in your homes way worse than the outdoor air quality in our cities. Unless the fragrance is derived from essential oils which is usually not the case with chemical-based cleaners. (Sidenote: those fragrant products do nothing for odour control). Phthalates are known to damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system, phthalates can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin. For over 80 years, industry has been using pthalates in a whole range of products, including toys, cosmetics, skin care products, vinyl products. And yes, air fresheners where they’re even more deadly because we can inhale them from the air and the particles also land on our skin and get absorbed into our bloodstream. Common phthalates found in air fresheners include Di-ethyl Phthalate (DEP), Di-n-butyl Phthalate (DBP), Di-isobutyl Phthalate (DIBP), Di-methyl Phthalate (DMP) and Di-isohexyl Phthalate (DIHP). These are known to interfere with hormone levels and affect genital development in humans and also cause reproductive and growth disorders.
In any case, air fresheners don’t work and we shouldn’t use them because the benefits are zero but the harm air fresheners cause to our bodies and our indoor and outdoor environment is immense and sometimes irreversible. Air fresheners aren’t alone in this though. Most chemical-based cleaning products are actively harming you and not even doing that good a job of cleaning what they are supposed to clean. Your floor cleaner, your toilet cleaner, your kitchen cleaner, your brass cleaner… they are all loaded with chemical compounds that are affecting your health, the health of your family and the health of our environment.
If you really want to clean your homes, use solutions that will clean while caring for you and the environment. Like our ThinkSafe range of products. Non-toxic, non-corrosive, ammonia and chlorine-free, our biodegradable home cleaning solutions are fully organic and natural and kind on you and Mother Earth.
And this month, because we’re celebrating World Environment Day, you can start your natural cleaning journey by buying our floor cleaner and toilet cleaner for a discount on Flipkart using the links below.